Wednesday, January 15, 2003

Sooner or Later

A colleague caught chicken pox, and another suggested that those who havn't got it before might wish to visit him to get it over with. There is the prevalent belief that everyone will get it once, like it or not, and just once, as the body naturally becomes immune to it subsequently. I find this funny- because it's totally different from saying, for example, that in this life, we will get to die once and just once. It is not an absolute law like that at all. Chicken pox is transmitted through its contagious air-bound (I think) virus. This is the play of cause and effect. If you do not come close to someone infected for your entire life, you won't catch it even if you live to a ripe old age. But given countless lives, our ill karma probably caught up with us countless lives before- with chicken pox and other ailments! As long as we are in Samsara, we will be caught with birth, ageing, illness and death... again and again. True sickness is then, not being sick in Samsara, but to not get out of it.

This catching chicken pox thingie reminds me of this theory of "chance" (in Buddhism, there is no such thing as "chance"; everything occurs as a result of intricate interdependent web of cause and effect) that says that if a hundred monkeys were given enough typewriters and time, one of them will inevitably bang out a Shakespearean play by chance. That is, given ENOUGH time. Yes. Given enough time, probably anything and everything that can happen will, due to causes and conditions constantly changing and latching onto each other, resulting in countless effects. Given enough time, we will all become Buddhas. Of course, enough effort is a crucial criterion for that to happen. Time is just a factor. This is no hundred-monkey "by chance" hit the jackpot case- if you keep monkeying around endlessly, you will never make it. Given forever, we forever have chance to attain Enlightenment. But if you take forever, you forever won't. Wanting out of samsara fast to save oneself is wisdom. And wanting out of samsara fast enough to save others is compassion. Which do you have? The first, the latter, both or none? JoinMailingList4LatestUpdates/Reply

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